Trending Stores: Fast-casual giant opens one-of-a-kind location
KFC has unveiled a marquee location in Overland Park, Kansas, as part of its ongoing store remodel and building program.
The KFC/Taco Bell co-branded restaurant is actually two complete restaurants in one, with separate drive-thrus, back-of-house operations and front counters. The nearly $3 million renovation features a completely customized design aesthetic and exclusive food offerings that include baked items. It is also the first and only location to feature KFC’s virtual reality training game.
The location is owned by KFC U.S.’s largest franchisee, KBP Foods, which also completed a $2.2 million renovation of KFC’s iconic “Big Chicken” restaurant, in Marietta, Ga., in May. KBP plans to renovate 250 of its 562 KFC and Taco Bell sites by 2020.
KFC and KBP Foods partnered with FRCH Design Worldwide on the 6,5000-sq.-ft. restaurant. It features KFC’s signature “American Showman” design aesthetic, with elements that pay tribute to KFC Founder Colonel Harland Sanders and the brand’s heritage. Nearly every element of the design was customized specifically for the Overland space.
The restaurant’s unique elements include a statue of Colonel Sanders for selfies and fan photos, lounge spaces in the reconfigured dining room, and a retail store selling KFC- and Taco Bell-branded merchandise.
In addition, the redesigned location is the only KFC in the world with a gaming console where customers can experience KFC’s virtual reality training game, The Hard Way, which debuted in August. It is designed as an “escape room” where Colonel Sanders gives trainees hints and clues along the way to ensure to help ensure they are making the company’s signature fried chicken the way that he invented more than 70 years ago.
Exterior upgrades include an all new facade with brick and distressed wood accents, new landscaping and painted murals. The exterior is also accented with color-changing LED lighting.
“Our partners at KBP Foods continue to make tremendous investments in their restaurants across the U.S., demonstrating deep passion for the KFC brand and a solid belief in the positive impact of capital reinvestment in their assets,” said Brian Cahoe, chief development officer for KFC U.S. “From extensive remodels like the iconic Big Chicken in Marietta, Georgia and the Overland Park restaurant to building new restaurants and extensive remodeling across the country, their partnership is helping us elevate the look and feel of our assets and drive the brand forward for the benefit of our consumers.”
The Overland Park renovation is in line with KFC’s plan to remodel approximately 70% of its U.S. restaurants. Since 2015, more than 800 KFC restaurants in the U.S. (more than 20%) have been updated to the American Showman design.
KFC Corporation is a subsidiary of Yum! Brands.
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Macy’s to close store in its home base
Macy’s will shutter its store at Fountain Place, in downtown Cincinnati, one of the two cities (the other is New York) where it operates corporate offices.
In a statement on Wednesday the department store said the decision to close the store came after a review of its nationwide real estate portfolio. Macy’s said the closing is one of the 100 planned closures that it announced in August.
The department store giant operates six other locations in the greater Cincinnati area. The company said that, wherever possible, it will place employees in good standing in open and available positions in a nearby store. Regular, non-seasonal employees that is unable to place at nearby locations will be eligible for severance, including outplacement resources.
Q&A: Indochino CEO Talks Expansion
Made-to-measure menswear retailer Indochino is on a roll. Founded in 2014, the Vancouver-based digitally-native company has made the leap to brick-and-mortar with finesse, opening handsomely furnished stores (‘showrooms’ in Indochino-speak) that reflect the brand’s aesthetic and bring its online customization experience to life.
“Our goal is to open over 100 showrooms in North America during the next decade and explore international expansion.” – Drew Green, CEO, Indochino
Indochino is headed up by Drew Green, who came on board as CEO in December 2015. Previously, Green founded and was chairman and CEO of shop.ca, Canada’s first multi-merchant marketplace, which is now owned by a holding company he leads as chairman and majority shareholder. Under Green, Indochino has made a major commitment to brick-and-mortar growth, while also expanding its online and fulfillment capabilities.
Most recently, the company reduced the time it takes to fulfill an order from four to three weeks, citing increased efficiencies across the manufacturing and delivery cycle. A new partnership with a shipping and logistics provider has further reduced delivery time.
Chain Store Age editor Marianne Wilson spoke with Green about Indochino and its plans for the future.
Why did Indochino decide to open physical showrooms?
Indochino was born out of the belief that custom clothing should be accessible to everyone. We started online and, while we were seeing huge success, we also realized that there are many people who prefer the in-person experience of having someone guide them through the process of designing a suit.
Our decision to evolve into an omnichannel commerce company has given us the rare opportunity to develop a completely new approach to retail centered around the customer experience and I believe that this approach will direct how we all shop in the future.
When did you start opening the spaces?
It’s been almost three years since we opened our first permanent showroom. In 2017, this network made up a significant amount of our revenue, and was our number one customer acquisition channel for our online business.
How is the company doing?
2017 is on track to be our second consecutive year of around 50% year-over-year. The past three years we have averaged rough 45% year-over-year growth.
How many locations are on tap for 2018?
We opened nine locations in 2017, ending the year with 19 across North America. This year, we’re aiming to open as many as 18 showrooms. (The sites will span North America, with potential locations including Atlanta, Austin, Nashville and San Jose as well as additional showrooms in large markets such as New York and Los Angeles).
What is the long-term expansion outlook?
Our goal is to open over 100 showrooms in North America during the next decade and explore international expansion. That said, we’ll continue to be strategic as to when and where we open new locations and will be expanding for as long as it makes good business sense.
What is the real estate strategy?
We’re looking to open in a mix of upscale regional malls, lifestyle centers and urban street locations.
How do you describe the look and feel of the showrooms?
We’ve taken a simple and modern design approach centered around the customer experience.
Showrooms are divided into zones with rows of fabric panels, mannequins showcasing the various customization and personalization options available, and spacious measuring stations that take the place of traditional changing rooms. We have two comfortable lounges, one for tailoring and another for wedding parties and larger groups to relax.
There are no cash registers. Instead, customers can browse our website on iMacs and style guides (store associates) are each armed with an iPad so they can input the fabric and customizations while they walk the customer around all the options. This isn’t your typical retail format — think Apple store but for custom apparel.
What’s been biggest challenge with brick-and-mortar?
Making the decision to invest heavily in physical retail at a time when most were stepping back was bold.
What’s been your biggest surprise or takeaway from the showrooms?
The effect our showrooms have had on an omnichannel scale has been impressive. Initially, we were concerned that a retail presence could cannibalize our online business, but instead, we were surprised to see our online sales grow twice as fast in our showroom markets than anywhere else.
Do customers, on average, tend to spend more in the showroom as compared to online?
Those who shop in store do tend to have a higher average order value than those shopping online. Whilst it may have to do with the kind of customer who chooses to buy in person, retail provides the opportunity for style guides to make suggestions and offer style tips that will often result in multiple purchases. This is the kind of thing you can only do to a certain extent online, though we’re working on it!
Tell us about Indochino’s partnership with Postmedia?
Our partnership with Postmedia, Canada’s largest newspaper company, is mutually beneficial for both parties. Postmedia has committed more than C$40 million media dollars in Indochino over the next five years, which will help us exponentially grow our market share in Canada. In turn, Post media will share a portion of our revenues in the Canadian market with the option to purchase stock at current prices. They are entirely aligned with our success as a partner and shareholder.
The partnership is a great opportunity for both companies to leverage each other’s strengths in order to grow our businesses. Both sides have a vested interest in making the partnership work, which optimizes the chance of success and greatly reduces risk. It’s a winning formula and one that I hope will pave the way for similar ventures in other markets.
Who is your target customer?
Broadly speaking, our customer is anyone looking for a great fitting, high quality suit that doesn’t cost a fortune. Our typical customer is 25-45 years old and needs a suit for work or a special event such as a wedding. He is someone who likely has never had the opportunity to own a custom suit before.
In an age of fast-fashion, is getting customers to buy a made-to-measure suit a hard sell?
When customers come to us expecting to walk out with a suit the same day, we engage them in the experience. We show how in just three weeks they can get a made-to-measure, fully personalized suit at the same or better price than ready-to-wear, which often requires lengthy alterations. And it’s working.
Have you thought about expanding into any other categories … such as women’s apparel?
I get asked all the time when we’ll start making women’s suits – you just have to walk into our showroom to see our female style guides already rocking it in Indochino. That said, there are more immediate opportunities for us to expand into new menswear categories, and this is what we’ll be focusing on. For now, at least.